Student Feature: Hayley Clayton, Arts and Cultural Management Graduate Student

Student Feature: Hayley Clayton, Arts and Cultural Management Graduate Student

As a graduate student studying Arts and Cultural Management with a focus in Museum Studies, I have a strong interest in learning about collection management in museums. This summer, I participated in an internship program at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (MFA Boston) where I worked in the Registrar’s Office within the Department of Conservation and Collection Management.

As the Registrar’s Graduate Intern, I mainly focused on the museum’s database system along with loan records. An average day for me consisted of performing data entry for new and existing loans as well as completing any special tasks that I was assigned. I completed loan registrations, helped to clean the galleries, and observed the packing and unpacking of objects. With a collection of about 500,000 pieces as well as traveling and special exhibitions, there was a constant workflow at the MFA Boston involving loan records and movement of objects.

woman cleaning glass of exhibit

In addition to my daily tasks, I attended enrichment events that the MFA Boston provided to the interns. These offered opportunities to meet and interact with different staff at the museum. We learned about the museum’s history, received advice from past interns who are now employed by the museum, and met the museum director. Through these events, we networked with museum professionals and got advice about future career paths.

One of my favorite memories of my internship is experiencing and understanding the process of how an exhibition comes together through the eyes of a registrar. Learning about loan requests among different arts institutions, delivering and receiving of objects, execution of gallery installations, and interaction and collaboration between museum departments has given me knowledge and furthered my skill in collection management. I am incredibly grateful for this internship experience and I can’t wait to take what I learned this summer into my final semester at Michigan State University as well as my career.